The rush to be new and original means that we keep digging the mine shaft instead of mining the gold. This one in particular is a long piece on how smartphones are being use by the digital generation – those born under the @ sign – at school and at home, anywhere and anytime. Use your imagination to see how you can go mobile with m Learning. NOTE TO MY READERS: I originally published this in the spring of 2010. I still do and many of you seem to agree since I get comments on it constantly. Knowledge – great ideas, excellent ways to solve pressing problems, smart ways to change and more – all seem to fly by SO fast that they get lost in cyberspace. We usually focus on education for adults, but every now and again we come across a piece of research that has tremendous implications for education for everyone.New studies and pilot projects show smartphones can actually make kids smarter. Department of Education has earmarked billion in competitive school-reform grants to scale up pilot programs and evaluate best practices of all kinds.And as the search intensifies for technological solutions to the nation’s and the world’s education woes — “Breakthrough Learning in a Digital Age,” as the title of a summit at Google HQ last fall had it — growing sums of money are flowing into the sector. Major foundations are specifically zeroing in on handhelds for preschool and the primary grades.Make them as educational in the same way that Sesame Street transformed TV with the Big Green Teacher in a Box – or as it were the garbage can. How technology could unleash childhood creativity — and transform the role of the teacher. They love to explore the latest games, flip through photos, and watch You Tube videos while waiting at a restaurant, having their hair done, or between ballet and French lessons.
They sing along with the Old Mac Donald app too, where they can move a bug-eyed cartoon sheep or rooster inside a corral, and they borrow Mom’s tablet computer and photo-editing software for a 21st-century version of finger painting.
So I’m flipping on my headlamp – and ignoring the bird – and for this summer (officially starting today) will repost what I think are some of the best and most relevant pieces I have written. The article is an eye -opener and we invite you to do two things. It is a brave new world coming up behind most of us.
We need to find ways to make smart use use of smartphones. As smartphones and handheld computers move into classrooms worldwide, we may be witnessing the start of an educational revolution.
It has the total package of appropriate design, quality software, and an ability to connect kids with teachers and technologists.
And while it will have to leap huge hurdles — systemic, bureaucratic, cultural — to be widely adopted, it does pre-sent the tantalizing prospect of revolutionizing how children are educated by drawing on their innate hunger to seize learning with both hands and push all the right buttons.
“They just don’t have that barrier that technology is hard or that they can’t figure it out,” Singer says.